Vacation is drawing to a close and as always, I become a bit introspective about the way it has gone. This has been one of our better vacations in many ways. We had one bad day there, when the phone died, but for the majority of the trip it has been informational, interesting and just plain enjoyable.
I have always journaled about my trips around the country and I have really enjoyed this new way of doing so. And although I have enjoyed the trip, it is not my favorite–as a matter of fact, it is not even second. I guess that means my trips have all been pretty high level.
I’ve always hated to travel, but with the death of my sister several years ago (who listed not getting around to enough places as one of her chief regrets), I decided it was time to put aside my prejudices about traveling and get into the spirit. Since then, I have been to all 50 states except Hawaii and I have no desire to go there.
These last two days have been less eventful than the rest of the trip, but we did get up to Lake Tahoe, where we took a ski gondola to the top of the mountain (those who know about my fear of heights will appreciate that I did it) so that we could get a breathtaking view of Lake Tahoe below us. I strongly recommend that. We have spent our last two nights on the road at a casino in Reno, even though we are not much for gambling. We wandered around last night, watching the games being played but not being enough of gamesters ourselves to play.
Today, we took the trip out to Donner Pass to learn about the ill-fated Donner Party who could have better been called the Murphy’s Law party because everything that could go wrong with those poor people on their trip, did. They are a tribute to human endurance and I admire their courage and fortitude. I have no judgements on the extreme measures they took to keep alive–indeed, no one, including me, who was not in their place, can ever know what we would do. After that sobering trip, we went into the mountains to visit Virginia City (hello Cartwrights?) to learn about the silver strike and the Comstock Lode. We found little history, but in fact an ancient mining town greatly resemblilng the town of Deadwood in my own state of South Dakota. I regret to say that interesting as the sight of the tourist town was, I wouldn’t recommend it to history lovers. The other thing I found out is that apparently, the Cartwrights never lived near Virginia City! How devastating!
We head home tomorrow, happy to return to our family, but with a lot of new sights and sounds to take in. All in all, I’d have to say my favorite parts were the visit I had with my cousin Bryan and Ruth, his wife, the visit to Alcatraz, the visit to Manzanar and Lone Pine and the informational site at Donner Pass.
I leave this trip with one final thought and that’s for the people who, like me, depend on public transport and hotel living to go on trips: it might be a good idea to throw your cell phones in your pockets, because there’s a lot out there you’re missing when you’re messing with your phones and a lot of your conversations are not meant for my ears, but I can’t escape them!
South Dakota, prepare yourself, because here I come!